Special Reviews

Molecular and Cellular Basis of Cardiovascular Gender Differences

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Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1583-1587
DOI: 10.1126/science.1112062

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), the major cause of morbidity and mortality for both men and women, occur uncommonly in premenopausal women, but their incidence rises sharply after the menopausal transition. Cardiovascular gender differences are apparent long before CVDs appear in men and women, and improved understanding of the biology underlying these differences has the potential to advance the diagnosis and treatment of CVDs in both sexes. This review considers gender differences in the molecular and cellular physiology of the heart and blood vessels in health and disease, highlighting understudied areas that can help resolve the current controversy regarding hormone replacement therapy and improve cardiovascular health in women.

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